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Press Release AG’s Office to Host Virtual ‘Teach-In’ on New England’s Wholesale Power Markets and Affordable Clean Energy

Public Forum to Educate Massachusetts Consumers and Advocates About Regional Electricity System; Promote a Clean Energy Future, Healthy Communities, and Climate Protection
For immediate release:
11/23/2020
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG’s Office to Host Virtual ‘Teach-In’ on New England’s Wholesale Power Markets and Affordable Clean Energy

Chloe Gotsis

BOSTON Attorney General Maura Healey today announced her office will host a virtual “teach-in” next month to help Massachusetts consumers and advocates better understand New England’s wholesale power markets and empower them to advocate for a cleaner energy system in Massachusetts.

The virtual teach-in, planned for Dec. 9, and accompanying video, launched today on the AG’s website, aim to educate the broader public, including students, families, advocates, elected officials, and the business community, about how decisions about the markets are made today and should be made in the future as we transition to affordable clean energy. The current rules that govern the region’s power markets are out of date and are making it hard for clean energy to compete with fossil fuels on even terms. 

“We are in the midst of a climate crisis that’s worsening every day in our communities, and already there are millions of advocates and young people in Massachusetts and across the country playing a critical role in protecting our planet and public health by demanding change,” AG Healey said. “We hope that this teach-in will help amplify that effort by educating even more people about the importance of modernizing our power markets in transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels and toward a clean energy system.”

The teach-in next month will include opening remarks from AG Healey followed by in-depth presentations from staff in her Energy and Environment Bureau on topics like:

  • Who runs the electric grid and why the grid operator is important as communities transition to clean energy;
  • Why the region developed competitive power markets and why those markets need to be reformed;
  • How power markets intersect with other parts of the power system and broader clean energy goals; and
  • How can the public can get involved and have a say in the power system.

 ISO-New England, an independent not-for-profit organization, manages and monitors the day-to-day operations of the region’s energy system. The AG’s video, titled “Shape Massachusetts’ Clean Energy Future,” explains that the region is often paying twice for energy by investing in new affordable sources, and still paying for older dirtier ones, thus making it critical for Massachusetts to work with ISO-New England to modernize the market rules needed for the clean energy transition. Transitioning to a clean energy system is the best way for the region to combat the climate crisis. It will also support the state’s thriving $13 billion clean energy economy that employs hundreds of thousands of people.

“Every minute we wait, families and businesses are paying the price—not just with your pocketbook but with greater health and climate change harms too,” the video states. Next month’s teach-in and its accompanying public outreach efforts were recommended by the AG’s Office in a whitepaper issued in March that outlined changes the region could adopt to best support its climate goals, keep the lights on, and ensure reasonable costs and equity for customers. The whitepaper followed a day-long symposium the AG’s Office held last fall on how the market must adapt to a clean energy future, and recognizes that this transition must include the input and support of both traditional stakeholders and the broader public, including the upcoming generation of young people, many of whom are passionate about addressing climate change.

In December 2019, the AG’s Office launched its first educational video on the energy market and a petition that urged Massachusetts consumers to call on ISO-New England to set market rules that support cleaner energy resources. Approximately 1,500 people signed on in support.  

The AG’s Office will also continue its work with regional consumer advocates, meet with elected officials, and provide educational opportunities to enhance the knowledge of residents about the region’s power markets and their relationship to the state’s climate policies. In addition to next month’s webinar, the AG’s website provides information for the public on other ways to help the AG’s Office advocate to ISO-New England about the need to reform the power markets including signing the office’s petition, attending a Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) meeting, and joining leaders in the region in rethinking the relationship between ISO-New England and the states. In the office’s white paper, AG Healey recommended that the states work together to provide guidance to the region on who they would like to define and deliver the kinds of electricity needed to ensure reliability and meet the clean energy future.

 As the ratepayer advocate for Massachusetts, AG Healey is committed to ensuring access to clean electricity at reasonable prices for all Massachusetts consumers. Last month, the DPU opened an investigation the AG’s Office called for that will take a look at the future of the natural gas industry. The AG’s Office called for the investigation to ensure the industry has the policies and structures in place to ensure the transition to clean energy is done correctly and in a way that is safe, reliable and fair to all consumers.

This effort is being led by Special Assistant Attorney General Megan Herzog and Energy Analyst Ben Griffiths, with assistance from Assistant Attorneys General Christina Belew and Tim Reppucci, as well as Administrative Assistant Marlon Dos-Santos, Deputy Bureau Chief Rebecca Tepper, and Bureau Chief Melissa A. Hoffer, all of AG Healey’s Energy and Environment Bureau.

To sign up for next month’s teach-in visit the AG’s website. Registration is free and open to all.

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Media Contact for AG’s Office to Host Virtual ‘Teach-In’ on New England’s Wholesale Power Markets and Affordable Clean Energy

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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